Istanbul court rejects appeal on city’s Pride March ban

An Istanbul court rejected on Wednesday an appeal against the city’s ban on the gay Pride March in a populous district located on the European side.

The Istanbul 9th Administrative Court said the ban on the Istanbul Pride Parade by the city’s governor’s office in the district of Bakırköy was lawful, news site T24 said. 

The Istanbul governor's office in 2019 banned the Istanbul Pride Parade for the fifth year in a row.  Amnesty International has called for Turkey to lift the "arbitrary ban" on the pride march, saying authorities rejected all suggested locations in the city by deeming the LGBT community "societally objectionable".

The court cited the governor’s office’s reasoning for the ban, including the threat of  “provocative activities”, “the protection of rights and freedoms of others” and “the prevention of potential acts of violence and terror,’’ as the basis for its decision.

The Pride March had been held peacefully in various cities, notably in Istanbul's Taksim Square, between 2003 and 2014. The popular event has faced a de facto ban, since 2015 in Istanbul, as the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government took a firm line against the country's LGBT community.